[Answered] “India being the country the most vulnerable to climate change, must prioritise Disaster management plans.”. Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Vulnerability of India to climate change.What should be done?
Conclusion. Way forward.

India is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change. Scientific studies have shown that human health, ecosystems, hydrology and water resources, food production, coastal human settlements and other socio-economic sectors are vulnerable to changes in climate. It is one of the most vulnerable countries owing to its geography and high economic dependence on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and even electricity generation.

Vulnerability of India to climate change:

  1. 58% Indians rely on agriculture. Hence, any change in rain or temperature affects not only the country’s food security and but also its economy.
  2. The long coastline of over 7,500 kilometres makes it highly susceptible to risks emanating from sea level rise and oceans turning more acidic.
  3. The 10 states over which the Himalayas are spread, comprising 16% of the country’s geographical area, frequently face floods, landslides and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods.
  4. India’s sustainable development will be challenged as climate change compounds the pressures that rapid urbanization, industrialisation, and economic development have placed on natural resources.
  5. In the last three years itself, India confronted enormous devastation caused by the Uttarakhand floods, Cyclone Phailin, Kashmir floods and an unprecedented heat wave this year.

What should be done to tackle climate change disasters?

  1. Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation. Disaster Risk Reduction should the forms the basis of adaptation efforts by enhancing capacity of the local communities, particularly women, who are at the frontline of the climate impacts.
  2. Identification, assessment and monitoring of disaster risks and enhance early warning is needed.
  3. It is vital that adaptation INDC (Intended nationally determined contributions) integrates and harmonises with the programmes undertaken by different ministries and sectors, and global processes such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the newly agreed Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) targets.
  4. All the existing programmes and campaigns- Make in India, More crop per drop, Soil Health Card, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Programme, National Rural Health Mission, Right to Education, need to incorporate features to reduce future disaster risk.
  5. Risk management measures have to be holistic and must provide social protection for all citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable, to address climate change-induced loss and damage, including several irreversible impacts.
  6. The mechanisms such as setting up joint commissions or task forces for vulnerability assessment, planning and monitoring is needed for harmonising existing efforts on income generation, agriculture, water management and so on.
  7. The tradition of indigenous knowledge and the local improvisation of appropriate technology, will need to be recognised and coupled with modern sciences.
  8. Investing in proven integrated farming systems practiced by small farmers, will promote food security as well as help absorb climate shocks and seasonal stresses.

Reducing vulnerability to climatic hazards must be cornerstone of our efforts to build resilience for the future. Disaster management should be made a formal part of development processes and budgets and programmed into relevant sector projects, for example in the design of settlements, infrastructure, coastal zone development, forest use, etc., in order to achieve sustainable land management, avoid hazardous areas, and to ensure the security of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and communications facilities.

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